How To Make The Most Of Digital Trends In The Last Half Of 2021

By José Antonio Martínez Aguilar, CEO of Making Science

The first half of 2021, much like most of 2020, has been full of changes for the Ad and MarTech industries. As companies are still figuring out which tactics do and don’t work upon entering the next phase of the pandemic, companies are scrambling to create campaigns and targeting workarounds that comply with new constraints wrought by Google and Apple.

And this is just the beginning.

The second half of 2021 is poised to deliver another onslaught of changes for marketers. The end of the COVID-19 crisis is finally (hopefully) insight. Consumers are starting to rediscover the physical world. Apple recently removed access to devise identifiers on iOS. And Google is phasing out the last of the third-party cookies in Chrome.

Looking ahead to the near future, how should marketers adjust? Which pandemic-formed campaign strategies are here to stay? And what marketing trends will define the last half of the year? Based on behaviors and data, here are a few trends to keep in view as we enter the second half of 2021.


Become digitally fluent

Helping your team become fully versed in the digital language is no longer just a worthwhile goal but a means of survival. Taking advantage of the flexibility and scalability of the right cloud computing systems has been key for marketers to adjust on the fly and continue to reach their target audiences during such unforeseen times.

As the world comes out of isolation, marketers will need to maintain a flexible mindset in order to deliver the right messages and ad experiences at the right times. Consumers won’t be as glued to their devices as restrictions continue to ease. Look for marketers to execute short but effective campaigns, relying on their digital fluency to customize messages at a moment’s notice.

Invest in AI

With the amount of data collection techniques soaring since the start of the pandemic, AI has become essential for marketers to gather, analyze, apply and react to data in a quick and effective way. Using AI to deliver relevant content, products and services to users will only become more important as consumer habits and lifestyles change over the last half of the year.

AI will also be key to ensuring a smooth and safe transition to a more privacy-focused digital landscape. Marketers will need to rely on AI, utilizing it to detect any anomalies and intrusions in their adapting databases.

In the battle of data activation, real-time seems to be better than extreme accuracy. Why? Due to consents, privacy, offline data ingestion offers lower matching rates and bidding models appear to treat offline data as less relevant. Therefore, having AI to make any kind of prediction, enables us to inform in real-time very precise data.

Build trust through first-party data

Consumers need to know they can trust your organization and the brands you’re promoting. They take note of your social, environmental and economic values as well as how you handle their data. They need to be able to trust you to deliver timely and relevant messaging while keeping their values and privacy safe.

Now is the perfect time to renew your commitment to building consumer trust by enabling and investing in first-party data. Get a jump on the industry by implementing different probabilistic and deterministic models before you’re forced to. Show your users you care about their privacy and data by getting ahead of the changes to come.

At Making Science, we help our clients tackle these major changes and we work every day on what we consider to be the key component of their strategies: Which is basing the strategy on their first-party data, every company possesses proprietary data and with this, we can accurately profile groups of users that we are going to impact with our campaigns.

Failure to change the philosophy of our digital strategy can be very costly and if we do not adapt we will not be able to operate or measure our campaigns properly, losing efficiency, data, and revenue. In fact, according to an internal study conducted by Making Science, we estimate that companies that do not adapt to the current changes in privacy,  specifically in relation to the disappearance of third-party cookies, will lose up to 25% of the data they should be getting if they do not implement the new Privacy solutions.

Among the multitude of current solutions in relation to these privacy updates, we are mainly committed to one, Google’s Consent Mode. Which will allow you to continue measuring your ROI while respecting the consent of your users.

Consent Mode: Google’s new solution to continue measuring conversions while respecting consent rules

Asking users for explicit consent before installing cookies in their browser may lead to the loss of conversion measurement for those users who refuse to give permission.

Google’s new “Consent Mode” functionality, seeks to mitigate this impact. Therefore, it is important that we understand.

Consent Mode currently focuses on two types of consent; analytics and advertising personalization. Introducing two new variables, ad_storage and analytics_storage in the configuration will allow you to inform your tags (Google Analytics, GMP, and Google Ads) of the user’s consent status, adjusting their behavior accordingly.

It should be clarified that Consent Mode is not a CMP (Consent Management Platform), but complements the system or solution installed to collect the user’s consent.

The tags will always be executed, regardless of whether the user consents or not. The real change comes in the information they collect:

If the user has given consent, the tag will run normally, while if the user has refused consent, the tag will run without collecting or sending cookie information. In this way, you can still have basic, aggregated measurements instead of losing this information completely.

With the information collected from users who have consented, Google’s platforms will also be able to model conversions for those users who have not consented. This modeling is currently not active but is planned in their roadmap.

Additionally, functionality that can be activated with Consent Mode is the so-called “URL Passthrough”. This option enables the process of sending the click identifier in the URL so that it can still be associated with a conversion in the absence of cookies.

The implementation requires GTM or tag to be in use and consists within the inclusion of some lines of code for the configuration.

Consent Mode arises because of the need to comply with the user’s consent without completely losing the measurement. Such a basic and necessary element allows us to analyze, improve and optimize ad activation.

It is currently a beta tool that is still being developed and will progressively include more functionalities and options, such as the aforementioned conversion modeling.


José Antonio Martínez Aguilar is CEO of Making Science. Previously, he founded The Science of Digital, a digital marketing consulting firm, and previously worked for 10 years at Google in Spain, Canada and Portugal, where he was Managing Director.